Indian Thalis That Showcase The Country's Culinary Diversity
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Indian cuisine is amazing, with its diverse culture reflecting the various regions. With their signature spices and recipes, each region has something to offer with a hint of its motherland. From the lands of Rajasthan to the high valley of Kashmir, each thali is a cultural representation of the beauty of each state.   

The food is highly seasoned and meticulously spiced. Dishes offer a riot of contrasting flavours and textures in each bite. Sweet mango chutney balances a spicy curry; crunchy papadum crackers offset the softness of rice. Indians traditionally eat with their hands, sharing food communally from a central platter in celebration of community and life's blessings.  

Rajasthani Thali  

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The Rajasthani thali is a colourful celebration of the rich and flavourful cuisine from the deserts of Rajasthan. At the centre of the thali are the iconic dal baati, soft wheat balls served with aromatic lentils and spiced ghee. Surrounding the baati are regional delicacies like gatte ki sabzi, fried gram flour dumplings in a spicy yoghurt gravy, and ker sangri, a tangy curry made from dried berries and beans.   

No Rajasthani meal is complete without lal maas, a fiery mutton curry rich with red chillies and spices. Sweet endings include feeney, small discs of fine semolina soaked in sugar syrup, and ghevar, a decadent honeycomb-textured sweet.   

Gujrati Thali  

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The Gujarati thali is a feast for the senses, featuring an array of sweet and savoury dishes that reflect the diverse flavours of Gujarat. A typical thali will include dhokla, a fluffy, steamed chickpea cake with a delightfully tangy taste. Fafda is a crispy, fried snack made from chickpea flour that provides a crunchy texture. 

Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable dish prepared with an aromatic blend of spices like cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric. It contains carrots, potatoes, green beans, yams, and more, all cooked together in a flavourful curry. The thali is served on a steel plate with multiple small bowls, each holding a different preparation.   

Kashmiri Thali  

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The Kashmiri thali is a scrumptious spread of aromatic dishes that reflects the diverse culinary heritage of Kashmir. The star of the thali is Rogan Josh, a fiery lamb curry infused with spices like fennel, cardamom, and Kashmiri chillies that lend it a distinct red hue. Creamy, melt-in-the-mouth Dum Aloo, made with baby potatoes simmered in a yoghurt-based gravy, provides a cooling contrast. Gushtaba, delicate lamb meatballs in a curd-based gravy, rounds out this hearty meal. With basmati rice, naan bread, chutneys, and other accompaniments.   

Hyderabadi Thali  

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The Hyderabadi thali is a flavourful feast for the senses, offering a medley of spicy and aromatic dishes that encapsulate the rich culinary heritage of Hyderabad. The star attraction is the world-famous Hyderabadi biryani, with its aromatic, saffron-tinged basmati rice and succulent pieces of mutton or chicken infused with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. No Hyderabadi meal is complete without the mirchi ka salan, a tangy curry made with chillies, peanuts and sesame seeds that perfectly complements the biryani.   

Kerala Sadya   

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A Kerala Sadya thali is a lavish spread of vegetarian delicacies, lovingly prepared to celebrate the harvest festival Onam in the Indian state of Kerala. Traditionally served on a banana leaf, the sadya features a vibrant array of curries, stir-fries, rice dishes, chutneys, raitas, and sweet treats. The main dish is avial, a melange of vegetables like carrots, beans, and drumsticks simmered in a coconut-yoghurt sauce. Other Sadya favourites include the olan made with ash gourd and black beans, the kaalan made with yoghurt and pumpkins, and the crunchy pachadi made with grated coconut.   

Goan Thali  

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The Goan thali offers a tantalising blend of flavours that reflects the rich cultural influences on Goan cuisine. At the heart of the thali is the spicy vindaloo, often made with pork or chicken stewed in a sauce punchy with chilli peppers, vinegar, garlic, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin. Equally complex is the xacuti curry, simmered with coconut milk and heavy with spices like turmeric, coriander, and poppy seeds. No Goan meal is complete without bebinca, a decadent, layered cake made with coconut milk and egg yolks.   

Assamese Thali  

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Assamese cuisine is a delight for the senses, especially the traditional Assamese thali platter. This thali celebrates the diverse flavours of Assam with dishes like Aloo Pitika, a tangy potato salad with onions, chilli, and mustard oil. There's Masor Tenga, a mouthwatering, tangy fish curry cooked with tomatoes and spices. No Assamese meal is complete without Pitha, sweet rice cakes stuffed with coconut, sesame seeds, or jaggery that melt in your mouth.   

Chettinad Thali  

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A Chettinad thali is a feast for the senses, offering a delightful variety of aromatic and flavourful dishes that reflect the rich culinary heritage of Chettinad, a region in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The thali features an array of mouthwatering curries, vegetables, breads, rice, chutneys, and more, artfully presented on a round metal tray called a thali. 

A typical Chettinad thali includes Chettinad chicken, a fiery and complex curry made with succulent chicken pieces in a gravy flavoured with freshly ground spices like star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, curry leaves, and coconut. Kuzhi paniyaram, fluffy savoury rice dumplings cooked in a special pan, provide a perfect vessel for soaking up the curries. And kari dosai, a thin, crispy lentil crepe served with a spiced vegetable stew, adds another tasty element.   

Odia Thali  

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The Odia thali is a traditional platter that showcases the rich and diverse flavours of Odisha's cuisine. It typically consists of dalma, a thick lentil stew made with vegetables like pumpkin, beans, and potatoes, flavoured with panch phutana spice mix. Dalma has a hearty, comforting taste. Khichdi, made from rice and lentils cooked together, adds carbohydrates to balance the meal. Simple yet nourishing, khichdi is often eaten with dollops of ghee. To finish, chhena poda provides a sweet contrast.   

Sindhi Thali  

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A Sindhi thali is a traditional platter featuring the diverse and delicious cuisine of the Sindhi people in India and Pakistan. The thali showcases aromatic curries, flatbreads, and vegetable dishes that reflect Sindhi culture and culinary traditions. The star of the thali is Sindhi curry, a rich, spicy gravy made with yoghurt, chillies, and a medley of spices. 

Slices of koki, a crispy deep-fried flatbread, are served alongside to soak up the robust flavours of the curry. Sai bhaji, a hearty mix of spinach and chopped vegetables, adds colour and nutrition. Additional sides like tamatar chaas, a cooling yoghurt drink with tomatoes, and sev, crunchy chickpea noodles, complete the meal.   

Himachal Thali  

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The Himachali Dham is a traditional platter of dishes originating from the beautiful hill state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. This hearty meal served on a thali perfectly captures the flavours and essence of the region. 

The star of the dham is Chana Madra, a warming chickpea curry made rich and creamy with yoghurt, spices like asafoetida, and regional ingredients like lotus stem. It is often paired with babru, a soft flatbread made from whole wheat flour that soaks up the curry wonderfully. No Dham would be complete without Chukh, a tangy chutney made from radishes, mint, and other herbs that provides a zesty contrast to the curry and bread.   

Andhra Thali  

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The Andhra Thali is a traditional meal from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, known for its spicy and flavourful cuisine. The thali features a medley of dishes that provide a taste of Andhra's unique flavours. At the center is gongura pachadi, a tart and spicy relish made from the leafy gongura plant that adds a distinctive tang. 

Natu kodi pulusu is a peppery chicken curry made with locally-grown spices like coriander, cumin, and fenugreek that give it an aromatic punch. No Andhra meal is complete without pesarattu, a crepe-like bread made from mung bean batter and served with spicy chutneys.   

Uttar Pradesh Thali  

The Uttar Pradesh thali is a feast for the senses, offering a medley of aromatic, flavourful dishes that encapsulate the culinary heritage of the northern Indian state. The star attraction is often the melt-in-your-mouth Galouti kebab, made from finely minced meat that has been blended with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

Another renowned kebab is the Tunday kebab, which consists of patties of minced mutton infused with a melange of spices and shallow-fried to perfection. To balance the richness of the kebabs, there is often bharta, roasted eggplant mashed with onions, tomatoes and herbs. Nihari, a hearty mutton stew slow-cooked with spices like turmeric, cloves and cardamom, is another highlight.   

Bihar Thali  

The aroma of Bihar's cuisine is captured in signature dishes like Litti Chokha, Sattu ka Paratha, and Champaran Mutton. A typical Bihari thali showcases this rich regional fare with an array of flavours and textures. The centrepiece is Litti Chokha—baked dough balls stuffed with sattu (roasted chickpea flour) served with mashed potato, brinjal, and tomato chutney. Sattu ka Paratha brings the nutty taste of sattu to flaky whole wheat bread. Champaran Mutton is a melt-in-your-mouth lamb curry with whole spices like black cardamom and bay leaves. Alongside, there are sides like dal, pumpkin, potatoes, and an array of chutneys and pickles.